The following is a letter from John Mininno the Courier Post (South Jersey), published on May 24, 2008:
Re: “White House moves to make it harder to sue businesses” (C-P May 13).
Thanks to the Courier-Post for highlighting the Bush administration’s latest “war” — this one against people who have been injured by defective products. As reported, big business, pharmaceutical giants and insurance lobbyists have spent their considerable resources lobbying the White House to use federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement rules making it virtually impossible for victims to be compensated when injured, killed or maimed by defective or dangerous products.
Congress and the courts have both previously rejected this back-door tactic. Why? Probably because of the outrage from American consumers who, this year alone, have seen toxic dog food, poison toothpaste, lead paint toys, unsafe child seats, contaminated heparin and dangerous drugs such as Vioxx and Trasylol. Every day, hundreds of lives are lost and thousands are injured from defective products, drugs and malpractice.
The Bush administration’s secretive tactics seek to take away our constitutional right to a trial by jury in civil cases. Juries make our community safer by ensuring defective product manufacturers, drug companies and negligent doctors meet their full responsibility for any harm they cause. If a drunk driver chooses to get behind the wheel of a car and kills a working father, shouldn’t his family have the right to go to a jury and seek full compensation? Why, then, should a large corporation be shielded from a jury when it produces a dangerous or defective product that hurts our loved ones?
If the insurance lobbyists and the Bush administration truly want to use federal agencies such as the FDA or the Consumer Product Safety Commission to “curb lawsuits,” then I suggest they require these agencies to focus on their real mission. Ensuring that products and drugs are thoroughly tested and deemed safe before making their way to American consumers. Safe consumers have no reason to file a lawsuit. It’s really just that simple.